Is Rome Safe?

By Dom Bewley

Safety can be one of the biggest concerns when planning a vacation. 'A stranger in a strange land', as the saying goes. That's why it's always important to know what to expect when visiting a new city and country. Take Rome, for instance. It's one of the most popular tourist spots in Europe, but how safe is it? Read on, and find out as we explore how to stay safe in Rome, what to look out for, and neighborhoods to avoid.

Including:

  • How safe is Rome?
  • Common threats to safety in Rome
  • Neighborhoods to avoid
  • Is public transport safe in Rome?
  • and more!

How safe is Rome?

Rome is one of the most historic cities in Europe, so it's no wonder countless people flock there every year. In fact, Rome plays host to around 10 million tourists every year, making it one of Europe's most popular destinations. Some come for the ancient architecture and history-soaked streets. Others visit for the nightlife, food, and shopping. But how safe is Rome?

Rome is considered a relatively safe city, ranking 29th in The Economist's Safe City Index 2021. Many factors make up this ranking, including personal safety, environmental safety, and even digital security. Those factors don't make a huge difference here, as Rome's 'personal security' ranking has it at 29th too!

So, what should you look out for on your trip to Rome?

Common threats to safety in Rome

Rome's most frequent crimes are petty theft. And, like many travel hotspots around the world, tourists are usually targeted. So let's talk about the types of theft you should be aware of on your vacation.

Pickpockets

During peak tourist season in the summer, you should be aware that many pickpockets operate in Rome. Focusing on the most popular spots as well as trains, they target tourists because of the large amount of vacation cash they may have on them.

This is relatively common in any big city that welcomes a lot of tourist traffic, so you may already be aware of the dos and don'ts. If not, or you just need a refresher, here are our tips to keep your belongings belonging to you!

  • Keep your bag, purse, or clutch close to you at all times.
  • Try and avoid carrying large amounts of cash - most places will accept card, even if it's from a different country.
  • Don't leave coats, jackets, wallets, or phones unattended when you're having a drink, getting a bite to eat, or going up to the counter to collect your order.
  • Be aware of distraction techniques. Thieves often work in pairs, so while one may strike up a conversation, ask directions, or 'accidentally' fall into, the other may well be attempting to swipe your cash or camera.
  • Avoid using paper maps when out and about. If you know where you want to go, use your phone's GPS and then stick an earbud in and listen for directions. You'll blend right in.

Muggings

Though chances of a violent mugging are much lower than being pickpocketed, it's still worth being mindful when walking around Rome. Public transport, especially at night, can make you an easy target. If you want to avoid a mugging, do the following.

  • Avoid public transport at night when possible - book a taxi from a reputable company instead. Check online to find one, though you may pay more than a local. Alternatively, go through a taxi app, if you're comfortable.
  • At night, try and travel in groups of two or more.
  • Plan your route around your daily plans and know when and where you're going to avoid unnecessary loitering - you may draw the attention of ruffians.

Scams

Scams have become one of the most popular forms of crime in many cities. Rome is no different, with a number of scams operating throughout the city.

  • Unfortunately, taxis are one of those. As we mentioned above, taxi drivers may be tempted to charge tourists higher rates than locals. Always make sure your driver is on the meter, and if they offer you a flat fee or 'forget' to put the meter on, they're likely trying to scam more money out of you. Politely ask them to put the meter on or request to leave the vehicle.
  • You may also be approached in the street and offered a free charm or trinket. Ensure you do not accept this, and be firm if necessary. If you take it, they will loudly and aggressively demand payment.
  • Another common scam is fake charity petitions. While not every one is fake, it may be difficult to discern which is not. We'd advise you to avoid these where possible, and give through a charity's website instead. Even signing a petition might lead to an aggressive demand for a donation, and that donation is going straight into the scammer's pocket.
  • Make sure you check ATMs for tampering, as scammers target those too. Most places in Rome will allow card payments, so if you're lucky, you won't need to use one at all.

Neighborhoods to avoid

Rome's most crime-riddled neighborhoods include Tor Bella Monaca, Romanina, San Basilio, and Corviale. As these are predominantly residential areas, you may have no reason to ever visit them. However, if you do, try to avoid them at night. If that's not possible, make sure you travel in a group to avoid being targeted as much as possible.

Is public transport safe in Rome?

As we mentioned, there are some things worth bearing in mind regarding public transport. We've talked about taxis at length, so be vigilant of those.

Regarding other forms, they are generally safe, especially during the day. Do bear in mind that some train stations such as Termini are pickpocket hotspots, especially in the evening.

As a general rule, try and avoid using public transport at night if possible. That way, you lower your risk of potential muggings or pickpocketing.

And that's our guide to staying safe in Rome! Want to make the most of your vacation? Check out Go City. With us, you can see all of Rome's best bits when and how you want.

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Day trips from Rome

Rome is located just so that it is great for short day trips out of the city in less than two hours travel time. Rome has a whole historic area to be discovered in Ostia and the Appian way as well as other great destinations for the summer, like the Ostia Lido with long sandy beaches and seaside bars. If you’re staying in the city for a bit longer, it’s well worth planning some day trips from Rome to explore more of the area.   Appian Way The Appian Way is one of the most impressive historic ruins in Rome and is one of the earliest stretches of straight roads in Rome, dating back to 312 BC. The road was originally used as a military road which is why it needed to be as straight and strategic as possible, later aiding in the victory of the Second Samnite War. Visitors can still see the ruins and old road still intact – and set in a public park it makes for a great day out and a beautiful spot for a picnic. Address: Via Appia Antica, Roma How to get there: 118 bus from Circo Massimo Metro Station   Ancient Ostia Ostia Antica, or Ancient Ostia, is Rome’s ancient harbor city – before the river moved over the years to where it lies now. Ostia means ‘mouth’ in Latin and was the mouth of the River Tiber. The oldest settlements, most believe, date back to between 396 and 267 BC and it was mainly a military center until the early Imperial period where there is evidence of a theatre and the growth of the Forum, where commerce and trade took place. For anyone interested in history, it’s a fascinating Address: Ostia Antica, 00119, Rome How to get there: Roma-Lido station (by Piramide) and get off at Ostia Antica   Ostia Lido Ostia is the Romans’ go-to summer destination. Just 30kms away from the city center by train, this seaside resort brings both Italian tourists and locals alike to its sandy shores. The town itself is relatively small, with typical Art Deco buildings along the coast and more Fascist-style buildings towards the fringes. During the summer months, it’s a great place to spend the day, bring your towel and enjoy the many seaside restaurants and bars to take you through the day and into the night. If you’re staying for longer there are many B&Bs and hotels to choose from for a short stay. Address: Ostia Lido, Rome How to get there: Roma-Lido station (by Piramide) and get off at Ostia Lido Centro   Castelli Romani The Castelli Romani are a cluster of wine-producing towns southeast of Rome, set in the volcanic area of Colli Albani. It’s a pleasant escape from the hot summer months, with its natural lakes and beautiful mountains with a national park. One of the most popular towns in the area is Frascati – known mostly for its wine! It’s a beautiful hillside town where you can sit out at pavement restaurants, drink wine and indulge in fine food. Address: Frascati, Rome How to get there: Train to Frascati from Termini   Hadrian's Villa Villa Adriana, or Hadrian’s Villa, is one of the most beautiful complexes of Roman ruins you can visit. Situated in Tivoli, you can wander through the classical buildings still standing and exemplary of the times in which they were built. Having been built in 2AD, it is the perfect ancient city with architectural styles from Egypt, Greece, and Rome and its statues and monuments give it the status as a World Heritage Site – and rightly so. Spend the day discovering the beauty of this ancient villa from its thermae, to its theatre, temples, and staterooms. Address: Largo Marguerite Yourcenar, 1, 00010 Tivoli RM How to get there: COTRAL buses to Tivoli from Ponte Mammolo station
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Rome's top three museums for art and history

A visit to Rome is rich in culture, history and tradition. Any visitor will fall in love with the city and be overwhelmed by the deep running traditions and heritage of the Roman people. There’s no better place to experience this than by visiting the wealth of museums within Rome, accessible with your Roma Pass and OMNIA Card. Both cultural and historical, there are museums that exhibit the city’s artistic and social past. We thought we’d look at top three and share with you why they are must-sees: Vatican Museums Arguably the most famous museums in Rome, the Vatican Museums are a cultural pilgrimage as much as a religious one. Set in the Vatican City they are home to some of the most priceless art and sculptures in the world. This vast set of interconnecting museums measure over 9 miles, so you’re best to dedicate a good half day to exploring the departments and salas at leisure. Some of the highlights of the museum include the Papal Throne, the Sistine Chapel, and various galleries displaying ancient statues, busts, maps and tapestries. Its 1,400 rooms are brimming with art dating back from Ancient Egypt to the 20th century. So there’s something for everyone. Obviously there’s a deep spiritual undercurrent and theme behind all the works collected and on display in the Vatican Museums so visitors can learn about the Papal history and Roman Catholic influence over art works through the ages. Some of the artists featured in this renowned museum are Michelangelo – who’s Last Judgement can’t be missed – Raphael and Bernini, among others. National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo This fortified castle, and mausoleum, is one of Rome’s most iconic landmarks and sits impressively on the northern bank of the River Tiber. The National Museum of Castel Sant’Angelo is a must-visit for anyone interested in history and is otherwise known as the Mausoleum of Hadrian. Interlinked with the Vatican – there’s a secret passage underground that links the two together once used for papal refuge – the museum of Castel Sant’Angelo is home to Papal apartments of the (infamous) Borgia Pope Alexander VI and display the lavish decorations and furniture collected by these heads of the Church. Visitors can also admire the Hall of Urns where it’s believed the ashes of Hadrian are kept, symbolically, right in the centre of the stronghold. Capitoline Museums Rome’s Capitoline Museums are some of the best collections of ancient Roman art and archaeology. Originally built as the ‘people’s museum’ it’s also believed to be the first museum in Rome – and the world’s oldest national museums – founded in 1471 by Pope Sixtus IV. One of the many highlights of the collection is Rome’s national symbol, the She Wolf and Romulus and Remus. The collections also contain ancient sculptures, statues, sarcophagi, mosaics and ruins of ancient dwellings from the Roman Forum. Set within three buildings, there is so much to be discovered about Rome’s rich history and culture – as well as Ancient Egyptian and Ancient Greek cultures. The Capitoline Museums give visitors a unique insight into Rome’s important history and you won’t be disappointed! With the Roma Pass you can get free entry into the Capitoline Museums and the Museum of Rome for free and many other historic sites like the Coliseum and the Roman Forum & Palatine Hill at a discounted price.
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What's on at St Peter's Basilica

St Peter’s Basilica is the power house of the Catholic Church set in Rome’s Vatican City, on the northern side of the River Tiber. The impressive basilica overlooks a huge colonnade-lined square and was designed and decorated by Italy’s most esteemed and prestigious designers such as Bernini, Michelangelo and Bramante. Capture the picture perfect moment for yourself and visit one of Rome’s most iconic silhouettes, St Peter’s Basilica. Boasting the world’s highest dome, the structure as a whole is truly breath-taking and one of the most impressive examples of religious architecture in the world. As it’s a place of pilgrimage and prayer, it’s no surprise that there are various events held there every month. Thousands gather to hear the weekly sermons – some even travel across the globe just to participate. If you fancy a bit of the action and are in Rome this month, pay a visit to this stunning landmark and epicentre of the Catholic Church to take part in some of the public Papal proceedings in June. 6th June, Friday Saint Peter's Square, at 12:15 - Meeting with the Carabinieri Corps on the 200th anniversary of its foundation 7th June, Saturday Saint Peter's Square, at 16:30 - Meeting with the Sports Associations 8th June, Pentecost Sunday Vatican Basilica, at 10:00 - PAPAL MASS, Holy Mass Saint Peter's Square, at 12:00 – Angelus 11th June, Wednesday Saint Peter's Square, at 10:30 - General Audience 12th June, Thursday Consistory Hall, at 10:00 - Consistory for several Causes of Canonization 15th June, Sunday Saint Peter's Square, at 12:00 - Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity, Angelus 18th June, Wednesday Saint Peter's Square, at 10:30 - General Audience 22nd June, Sunday Saint Peter's Square, at 12:00 – Angelus 25th June, Wednesday Saint Peter's Square, at 10:30 - General Audience 29th June, Sunday Vatican Basilica, at 9:30 - Solemnity of Sts Peter and Paul, PAPAL MASS - Holy Mass and imposition of the Pallium on new Metropolitan Archbishops Discover more with the OMNIA Vatican & Rome Card. Enjoy a free audio guide at St Peter’s Basilica for FREE and skip the queues saving you time in the busy months. Why not visit the Vatican Museums and Sistine Chapel after, and walk right up to the front with no queuing and no extra payment. Want to learn more? Click here to find out how it works...
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